Sunday, 22 February 2015

Road to Breakthrough Assault 3 - The Beginning of the End

Next week I head back to where it all began for me in Flames of War, Bournemouth!  I am taking part in Breakthrough Assault's yearly 2 day Late War event.

Over the past year I have had a great time playing in tournaments, have made some fantastic new friends and even been interviewed on the odd podcast, not bad for an utter noob, eh?!

Although I had played Flames of War occasionally before last year it was only when I started playing in tournaments that I began to really learn the game. What blew me away was the depth to what is, on the face of it, a deceptively simple game.

So with the tournament rapidly approaching I had to settle on a list to take. Having just moved house made this a more difficult affair as I was effectively constrained into taking stuff I already had. No buying and painting new toys at the last minute for me.

What I really like about this tournament is that whilst not themed it does restrict what lists are available. In my opinion Late War has now effectively split itself into 2 periods; Early Late War with books such as Grey Wolf, Overlord and Red Bear and Late Late War with Blood, Guts & Glory, Desperate Measures and Nachtjaeger.

For this tournament the choices would be restricted to the following books, as well as a host of associated PDFs:

Atlantik Wall
Red Bear
Grey Wolf
Road to Rome
Fortress Italy

With a total of 1650pts to spend it would not be as simple as I thought. My experience at the Derby World Championships in the Grey Wolf/Red Bear tournament showed that I struggled taking out the big Soviet heavies with Panzer IVs so a change would no doubt be needed.

I do really like 1650pts however and it my favourite Late War points level as it forces you to make some really tough decisions as to what to take.  The higher points values such as 1800pts make it too easy to build a balanced force in my opinion, I enjoy having to make compromises and then seeing how it works out.

Initially I thought about the Herman Goering Panzer company from Fortress Italy.  The idea of re-rolling Confident morale checks and a platoon 4 StuH42s just seemed too good to pass up.  However I just couldn't make the points work into a list that clicked for me.  Below is my best attempt

I decided not to take any infantry and instead go for another platoon of Panzer IV Hs.  Attacking wise I think the list would be fine.  I'd have the weight of Panzer IV Hs to dig out the enemy and some StuH42s to get rid of pesky gun teams with their breakthrough guns.

However I would really struggle against the Soviet heavies and in defence I'd have to be careful.

There was simply too much uncertainty there for me to make it a comfortable fit.

So my eye turned to the US forces from Overlord.  I like the Auto Attack and Spearheading of the 2nd and 3rd Armoured companies but they seemed too "vanilla" in their choices for me.  My experience last year of using 2nd ID was still fresh but I didn't want a camper army, I like using tanks and dictating the pace of the game.

I then looked at Road to Rome.  I like the idea of using Veteran troops as I can't make Trained troops work for me; being hit on a 4 up instead of a 3 up makes all the difference.

I found the US Armour list too expensive for the points and therefore settled on my old favourite, US Armoured Rifles.

Several bouts of playing around and the odd practice game against my regular opponent, Matt, and I settled on the list below.

I went for a plain jane Headquarters with no support options as I wanted to concentrate my points on where it mattered.

I am a big fan of 2 full Armoured Rifle Platoons in any Armoured Rifle Company list.  They really are miniature armies with their 14 stands.  The big punch comes from the 5 Bazooka teams however the Light Mortar can be very effective in digging out enemy gun teams with its 3 up Firepower.  The Rifle teams are great at shooting either on the move or in defensive fire with their Automatic Rifles, one of the most under rated rules in the game in my opinion.

The anti-tank punch comes from the Sherman platoon with its 2 M4A3 (Late) and 2 M4A3E8  EasyEights.  Hopefully the AT13 shots from the EasyEights will help me deal with any heavy armour.

I quiet enjoy being aggressive in my games and there is no better US tank for assaulting than the Stuart I think.  With its 16" move and stabilisers it can quickly nip into the enemy's rear area (oo-err missus!) and cause havoc if he isn't careful.  

For recce I have gone with a Trained Cavalry Platoon from the 92nd.  Hopefully having them as Trained will make me use them as recce rather than be tempted to use them as fighting troops.  Their job will be very firmly to hide behind terrain using cautious movement and then lift gone to ground from enemy troops.  I'll also look at using them to shut down the enemy's opportunities for placing ambushes.

Artillery-wise I have gone with a platoon of 3 Priests.  I like having Armoured Artillery as it is more difficult to pin them.  They also come with the "ninja" Sherman OP. 

Speaking of OPs I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take an AOP.  The ability to fly around the battlefield and spotting targets of opportunity is too good to pass up.  I have kept the points down by not taking the Column Security option as I very rarely use it.

Having seen the Runners and Riders it looks like it'll be good fun on the day.  The breakdown is as follows:

9 Infantry lists, 11 Mech lists and 12 Tank lists.  It's good to see a nearly even split amongst the company types. 

The full breakdown is as follows

1. Ben C– New Zealand Armoured Squadron (Road to Rome)
2. Martin C – US Armoured Rifles (Overlord)
3. Ben D – US 8th Infantry Division (Citizen Soldiers)
4. Graham W – Tankovy (Red Bear)
5. Dazza – British 7th Armoured (Overload)
6. Carl J – Rota (Red Bear)
7. Nigel E – Nissi (Veteran) (Road to Rome)
8. Chris W – US Armoured Rifles (Road to Rome)
9. Cid – Tankovy (Red Bear)
10. Matt P – British 50th Infantry Division (Overlord)
11. Army Dave – Guards Heavy Tankovy (Red Bear)
12. John B – US 3rd Armoured (Overlord)
13. Mike K – British 3rd Assault Division (Overlord)
14. Steve C – Airlanding Recon (Overlord)
15. Maz – Tankvoy (Red Bear)
16. Skip – British 11th Armoured Lorried Rifles (Overlord)
17. Winner Dave – Tankovy (Red Bear)
18. Marc A – Armoured Rifles (Road to Rome)
19. Mat B – British 51st Infantry Division (Overlord)
20. Paul W – US Armoured Rifles (Overlord)

1. Fez – Panzer Company (Grey Wolf)
2. Jim M – Armoured Pioneers (Grey Wolf)
3. Jersey James – Italian Infantry (Fortress Italy)
4. Adam C – 26th Panzer (Fortress Italy)
5. Robin S – Tiger Company (Fortress Italy)
6. Paul F – Hungarian Tank Company (Grey Wolf)
7. Steve H - Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (Fortress Italy)
8. Viking Mike – Gepanzerte Panzergrenadierkompanie (Grey Wolf)
9. Alex H – HG Aufklärungsschwadron (Fortress Italy)
10. Toby M – Panzer Lehr (Atlantik Wall)
11. Andy C – Grenadiers (Grey Wolf)
12. Kevin P – 26th Panzer Grenadiers (Fortress Italy)
There's a good chance that I'll be attacking as often as I'm defending therefore I went for the balanced combined arms option and I'm glad to see it paid off.

Mission wise we'll be playing the following

Game 1 - Breakthrough
Game 2 - Dust Up
Game 3 - Fighting Withdrawal
Game 4 - Cauldron
Game 5 - Free For All 

With an entirely mechanised army I'm not looking forward to anything that has Mobile Reserves and sees me defending.  That aside apart from my hated Free For All mission it is a good mix and will certainly make for some interesting match ups.

Anyhow if you're there please come and say "Hi".  Matt has got me and the other Breakthrough Assault guys some natty new polo tops to wear and I'm sure they'll be modelled in force during the tournament so I should be fairly easy to spot!

Anyhow wish me luck and I'll be sure to throw up an AAR of the event just as soon as I can.


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